Akademie der Bildenden Künste Wien (MA / 2008)
What is your favourite film of all time?
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Latest artwork - View all by this artist
Naomi Devil made her first debut with her photo-like monumental paintings on the international contemporary art scene at the age of 16.When she was 17 her works had already been shown in different galleries abroad and on international art fairs.
Sarcasm is an important characteristic of her artistic language. It is an irony that does not want to ridicule, but to call attention by distorting the reality. It is rather the propelling force of the creative process that leads the artist on the way of seeking unbeaten tracks. It is this restlessness that keeps her creative forces constantly moving to raise new questions and to look for unconventional answers. A distorted world of a generation with overturned and twisted moral values, a mirror image often spiced with a hint of cynicism is reflected in Naomi’s paintings. There is however a sophisticated mental, emotional and social message at the root of her cynicism. An organic process that leads through the creative steps of analysis, abstraction, simplification, distortion by morphing into another layer of reality and dual meaning is discernible in all her works. It is a creative technique that was obviously applied even to such small details as her signature on the painting that can be read both as the monogram of her real name or of her alias.
Despite her young age, she is able to look at the world from a distinct and dispassionate external view point. Her unbiased vision goes far beyond our times. Her force and speed of imagination outpaces that of her contemporaries.
Naomi understands the spirit of our times and the dictatorship of media. She is able to adapt herself to the circumstances even if she does not always agree. She uses the same methods to catch the attention and to bring home the message of her works. “I think my works can compete with the visual invasion of pictures and colours transmitted by media but to catch the eyes and to attract attention I tend to use shockingly shrill colours.”
As we thumb through her catalogue, that is an imprint of the way from the 17 years old Noémi to the 24 years old Naomi, from the surface to the inner self, we can witness her getting more and more serious, clear and concise. She is raising questions like: What are the propelling forces of different generations? Why has mankind lost their noble ideals and seems to lead an aimless existence? Why are we getting more and more obsessed by possession of objects rather than human relations? To what extent can we still enhance our power of self-destruction?
She observes with great artistic sensibility the current social and economic issues and projects them on a highly intellectual level onto the canvas. She reflects on the problems of our fragile ecology. Recurring topics of Naomi’s paintings are for example pollution, genetic manipulation, the exaggeratedly intense pace of life, conspicuous consumption and the effects of advertisement and media. She features showcase mannequins, artificial and virtual human beings but they all live among us. She does not only give a résumé of the different aspects of individual problems but creates new concepts of attitudes to life, reflects on new social and moral values. Her works have a precariously static character as if they would catch the fraction of the moment when the pendulum hovers at the top equilibrium position.
Naomi Devil has found her artistic identity and has created her own pool of topics at a very early stage of her carrier. She may have even begun too early to address the current issues of her environment. In my opinion her artistic production manifests itself between deconstruction and reconstruction, decomposition and composition. She has a relaxed, easy-going and flexible personality and is capable of re-interpretation.
Flash Art Magazine Hungary
In times like this, when the whole world spins around internet, which follows by the hyper-fast transmission of information, and vanishing of the real “singulis”, I wonder in its excitingly flowing cascade to dig deep and find reality.
For my latest series nominated for Year In Review NY 2012 and Self Creative Competition NY 2012, I not only use conventional digital techniques but also as tool and inspiration a digital role playing game program called Second Life, and I focus on the question of different layers of our existence.
I have moved on to digital art, because while using Second Life and programming I can create such detailed and complex visual pictures, which I could not by hand or with using conventional / traditional techniques. I enjoy the complexity of the whole process, not less challenging than a painting. Also with placing different layers on top of each other, I can create new meanings, make the unseen visible and I can underline contrasts and dualities effectively that interest me. -such as: mortal-immortal, geometric-organic, natural-artificial, surface-inside, existing self- physically non-existing avatar, real “me” – social “me”, good - bad etc.
I’m interested in the human form, what the ego makes out of it, how people act during social interactions, what they show outwards, what are the hidden tensions or reality behind the social mask or an imaginary avatar created on the internet. What can depict a human being as a human being emotionally and formally, as an individual and as a social creature? I’m thinking all the time to understand all these things and visualize a personality in one picture. For this I created a puppet like iconic figure of my self, I took away everything that expresses personality so that I can give it back in a pure visual way, permuting, reinventing the outer human shell. Every detail, material, colour has its meaning and is in connection with the person and its history. Some of these images are self-portraits, showing different sides of my personality but they are also portraits of other people that I met and inspired me to picture the essence of their presence.
Each work has two side panels with iconic images. Originally I created them only for use in the central panels but I decided to present them separately so that they live their own life. They are imaginary geometrical forms that remind us of the beauty of nature and it´ s mortality. It also expresses the nature of human not only to change the own self but also the urge to change the evolution and the surrounding world.
I do not see these works as surrealistic. They are not about dreams or the subconscious, it is closer to the creativity technique called semantic intuition, only I` m not combining words to create new meanings but images.
The concept of my recent "cyber" paintings is not far from that of the digital works, after all the digital works were born form them. It all began as one night I recognized the puppets in store windows of shopping malls. I fell in love with the dramatic light, the contrast of the artificial light and the darkness. These idealized puppets for me stand for perfection, the ideal superhuman and through their clothes luxury. The light makes them something out of a sanctuary, the sanctuary of dreams, illusions. They stand for the unreachable and that is I find exiting about them.
The main difference is that these personalized puppet figures are put in a space, they interact with each other and I give a form to their interactions, joys, power games or their solitude, struggles and distance from each other . It is not only about the human nature but contemporary life.
Over the time I have moved to a more open ended picturing. I` m leaving more to the audience for imagination and I `m avoiding being didactic. I `m also taking care that while I `m painting of something contemporary , not just phenomena but happenings, I do not become the late newsboy. I think it is very important to give a view of a certain thing my way, not just depict it the way it is but alter it the way that it becomes a bit absurd, ironic, something that confuses and leaves the viewer wondering. I want my paintings to have a certain Bosch painting quality: , it challenges the western brain that has become too rational , we do not understand it at first sight, but as we look at it long enough it becomes clear that it is about the human nature. Bosch depicted desires, dreams, temptations in a very reduced way: a red round fruit. I do it the opposite way, our society offers all kinds of joys and dreams to reach, I enlarge them, alter them, invent new ones, create imaginary spaces for them. I fit the dreamlike space to my figures, just as artificial and darkly glamorous(chrome , glass, dramatic light). I often use the elevator in my spaces, I see them as something that takes us to a higher level where we are longing.
Looking at my whole career one can see that my interest was the same but it developed much. At the beginning my "Sells like teens spirit" series documents contemporary lifestyle and self expression though clothing and gestures. While this series stay at the surface and shine of things my self-portrait series "Deep blue se(a)lf" that was nominated for The power of Self Competition NY is the first that digs deeper and leads to my recent work.
Selection of solo shows:
- 2011: Kunsthalle Szombathely, Metaverse art, Szombathely
- 2010: Gallery Bast, Sells like teen spirit, Marbach am Neckar
- 2009: Gallery Artitude, Budapest
- 2008: Museum Postsparkasse, X-ist, Resist, X-cite,Vienna
- 2007: Hungarian Cultural Center, SPACE WARP, Prague
- 2006: Gallery Mucius, DOWNLOAD::MEDIA, Budapest
- 2006: MOYA (Museum of Young Art), Vienna
- 4 solo exhibitions: Naomi Devil, Adam Bota, Jaye, Stylianos Schicho
- 2005: Gallery Art Position,Vienna
- 2005: Gallery Mucius, PINKFERNO, Budapest
Selection of group shows:
- 2012: International ArtExpo: Hidden and Forbidden Identities, Italy Venice
- 2012: NUS 2012, Split
- 2011: Gallery Stephan Stumpf: Die Verführkraft schöner Kunst,Munich
- 2010: Degree Art London
- 2010: Nord Art, Büdelsdorf
- 2010: Wir leben und arbeiten in Wien, Area 35, Vienna
- 2009: Nőnem/Women, Erdei Ferenc Cultural Center, Kecskemét
- 2008: Embodyment, Academy of Fine Arts, Aula,Vienna
- 2007: Gallery Exner, POP 07, Vienna
- 2006: GalleryExner, Junge Sommer,Vienna
- 2006: Ernst Museum Dorottya Gallery, Budapest
- 2005: IZD Tower, Devil and Garcia Pozo,Vienna
- 2005: MOYA (Museum of Young Art): New Romantics,Vienna
- 2005: Art Position, Ottakringer Brauerei, Vienna
- 2005: Selfportait UK 14-19, Touring exhibition: Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Manchester Art Gallery, National Museum & Gallery Cardiff, Peterborough Digital Arts Museum & Gallery, The New Art Gallery Walsall, National Portrait Gallery London, London Underground
- 2004: Brick Lane Art: Art In Mind, London
Achievements & Awards
2007: Second Life Architecture Award: Best 40 2006: Scholarship of the Summeracademy Salzburg